Convocation Speech to the 2010 Graduating Class of Prospect College, Ocho Rios St. Mary's, Jamaica
5 August 2010 | Minister Michael Scott
Intro: To the Chancellery and Chairman of the Board of Governors this College Mr. Peter Green in absentia, to the General Manager of the Prospect Plantation Mr. Ian Banks to the Principal of Prospect College Mr. Britton Blackwell and to the distinguished Faculty and staff of this noble institution Parents family of the Graduates Ladies & Gentlemen AND Most importantly Graduates,
Men of Prospect yesterday I took the time to tour the Plantation again I was in search of a metaphor for this auspicious occasion of your graduation from Prospect College your Right of Passage clearly to new fields of endeavour . I found what I was looking for in some Young Green Shutes in the grounds of the plantation. I really wanted to find a Young Oak sapling that had begun its growth spurt in 2007 near to the time that the You had also begun your time here at Prospect.
I also Binged Young Oaks while at home preparing this Convocation Canon That I am called upon to discharge to you this morning I was successful I found pictures which revealed The perfectly straight sturdy stems of oak saplings in other photos the straight and study trunk was evident , to which I likened to the new strong backs of this graduating class, young Men of Prospect I noted the distinctive cluster leaves bursting with chlorophyll that green pigment that enables photosynthesis which allows the tree to absorb energy from the sun light .. the function most akin to the relationship over these last 3 years between Yourselves and Principal of College Mr. Britton Blackwell and the distinguished and noble faculty members of Prospect College and the magical experience where each of you as sponges have soaked up knowledge and teachings from your Mr. Principal and your Teachers.
So what has this experience that concludes with your marching out through the gates of Prospect your Caribbean Examination Council Certificate in hand done for you?
Canon 1 My First cannon provides answers : it has changed you forever , you have learned to process raw data and material you that you have stored away and applied in your exams, you have been transformed into critical thinkers:
Your new found power to apply knowledge and critical thinking to a specific problem or set of problems encountered on an exam sheet or posed in an oral dialogue, is a powerful asset. You have it No one can now take it. What will you do with it?
I commend this to you whenever in life from this moment forward you are confronted with a challenge technical or otherwise or when facing any problem or danger or an important decision, In your hands now is the Power of Critical thinking. USE IT to get from under danger or to work through your task assigned to you or to solve any problem you face.
It is your essential weapon always use this power confront the problem head on analyze it call on the mental process you have recently learned here at Prospect and WIN THROUGH.
Canon 2 My second Canon
Men of Prospect already you face several inescapable imperatives in this technology centered world which you inherit for example you face competition in the workplace and all institutions of learning and further training from your Jamaican peers and global peers too in a globalized Jamaica and world. You are in a world where your peers more than at any point in modern history face the growing pressures to follow trends participate in behaviors of a popular but not always safe set of counter cultures these pressures represent a challenge an attack on the young males prospects to pursue positive lives and this not only here but across the Caribbean and the globalized societies and cities. These imperatives are but obstacles in your path that you must navigate from your paths leading from this Arcadia of Learning. Your individual and joined up experience will be as diverse as there are graduates before me this morning Each of you possess a uniqueness that will help shape you and the journeys you take. Consider This;
REGRADING THE OBSTACLE IN OUR PATH CONSIDER THIS
In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it.
Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way. Then a Young Man who had just begun his career came along wheeling a barrel of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the young man laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the young man picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The young Man learned what many others never understand. !
More than in any other time in our history there are boulders in the paths on which each of you shall travel. Your graduation today and your ammunition of critical thinking power is the muscle with which God has armed you to move the boulders from your path.
Men of Prospect your first line of offence is and always must be the deployment of critical thinking power.
Canon # 3 Lead Lead Lead and Lead again
The example you have set here today with your graduating is your passport to abundant life With and by it each of You will inspire other boys and girls of Jamaica and boys and girls of the Globalized community you are about to enter into. They will be watching you, take their cues from you want to mimic and emulate you. WALK GOOD and with Integrity of purpose and action in all that you do and say every day.
Your first victory of significance is Graduation Day from Prospect College today.
Many Rivers to Cross many paths to trod but with this victory won with these Lessons learned you will apply the victory of Prospect to each new battle and reach a new victory. The battle of Prospect has been one of setting a positive example. Now you can spend this currency anywhere it is transferable and transformational USE IT WELL together with your total experience of learning here.
Men of Prospect the BLUE MOUNTAINS are your mountain range. These Mountains are a part of your natural heritage Since little boys when thinking about high geographic features Your Blue Mountain ranges come naturally to mind Lets us go there in our imaginations Recall a time when last you were on their peaks. PAUSE
Now using that memory of the view- look out until your view rest upon the 30 horizons each of you see in your mind’s eye. The world beyond the horizons whether out to Kingston over to a Job in the Civil Service or to the University of the West Indies or to Yale or Howard University in Washington DC or McGill or the London School of Economics whether your horizon is stretches out from St Mary’s to distant parishes or across the Caribbean Sea to Africa , America Europe or Asia The World is Your oyster. What will you Do with your chosen horizon that you now journey toward?
The Three Canons Critical thinking, it’s wise use and persistent deployment to remove obstacles and the art of strong Leadership These Three canons are your passports to success use them every day everywhere .
As I seek to understand the significance of what you have achieved today I have been assisted by the words of one of your Sons who said this; “ The power to create and innovate remains the greatest guarantee of respect and recognition” This was Rex Nettleford OM 1970 Gentlemen your creative powers from this moment forward will be your greatest ally and friend your most potent tool , it will shape your competitive successes your creative powers and will open doors that have been otherwise closed to you as men your creative powers and capacity to innovate is the key to the oyster of which I spoke. Wisely and enthusiastically deployed by each one of you, it will parachute each of you in to liberty to self empowerment self actualization and shape yourself identity.
As I conclude What then is it Oh Men of Prospect that we have HERE discoursed today? It is of Resolution and Independence.
William Wordsworth’s Poem Resolution and Independence affords me a conclusion with which to end my discourse with you The poet’ s setting is of a Young boy’s encounter of an Old man upon a moor, Wordsworth has the young man tell the story with natural curiosity the youth inquires of this old man his purpose for being upon this lonely moor.
listen to the lesson learned by the boy on the moor; the answer given
To gather leeches, being old and poor:
Employment hazardous and wearisome!
And he many hardships to endure:
From pond to pond he roamed, from moor to moor
Housing with God’s help, by choice or chance
And in this way he gained an honest maintenance.
Now leeches as you will know from your biology general studies had then and has today distinct medical uses and properties this was their ancient value to physicians of the day and so to the person who collected them the explanation goes on
He said He travelled stirring thus about his feet
The waters of the pools where they abide
“Once I could meet with them on every side
But they have dwindled long by slow decay;
Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may “
This concluded the answer of the man regarding his career on the moor here is what the young man concluded; the lesson of learned by the young man
: and when he ended
I could have laughed myself to scorn to find
In that decrepit Man So firm a mind.
God” said I “be my help and stay secure
I’ll think of the leech gatherer on the lonely
As you leave Prospect College you carry with you the legacy of the of this fine School of Instruction and Learning Prospect College has been your modern moor a place which has given you the rudiments that will lead you to have the firmness of mind and resolve of the old man, the legacy of good citizenship a institution of learning wherein you have begun to grow into the green shutes of powerful leadership. This then has been the vision of Sir Harold Mitchell the founder of your college lovingly and carefully nurtured and continued by his daughter Mrs. Mary Jean Mitchell – Green and now by her husband Mr. Peter Green and the third generation of his sons Messrs Alexander and Andrew Green It is a generous and noble legacy here and from this learning seat Follow your Blue mountain horizons Men of Prospect oft as you can you‘ll come back again here oft we‘ll find you and you’ll do the best you can on your own canoes to men and be heroes in the fight.